Today I’m going to share with you Does Adultery Affect Divorce in NY? Is Adultery a Crime in NY?
Divorce is defined as the legal termination of a marriage. It is undoubtedly an emotional and draining process for everyone involved. Things tend to get more complex and heart-wrenching when adultery or any type of infidelity gets involved in the separation.
The anger and resentment are expected to rule out any chances of peaceful settlements and clears the way for an ugly and cut-throat divorce battle in court. Sadly, New York is not immune to adultery affected divorces.
So, the question is, how does adultery affect divorce in NY? Divorce is a layered legal procedure with subdivisions of the division of assets, alimony, child custody battles, etc. So, the next question in order is does adultery affect child custody? Does it automatically grant alimony or affect the division of shared property? Let’s take an in-depth look.
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Marital Infidelity NYC:
Even though adultery, best understood as extra-marital affairs are a prevalent social taboo and are widely looked down upon by mostly the whole of society, are viewed differently by different states in The United States Of America. The legal definitions of adultery also vary from place to place. What exactly is “marital infidelity NYC”? How does New York view adultery?
According to (N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 170 (4).), adultery can be defined as an act of a married person having sexual intercourse with someone who is not their legal spouse.
Does Adultery Affect Divorce in NY?
Is Adultery Illegal in New York?
The next question to ponder upon is if adultery in New York is seen as a crime. New York laws do state that adultery is illegal. According to New York State Penal Law Section 255.17, a person is considered guilty of adultery if he or she participates in sexual intercourse with someone who is not their legal and living spouse or the other person involved has a legal and living spouse.
New York laws try to hold both cheaters accountable for their actions. It classifies adultery as a class B misdemeanour which is generally punishable upto 3 months in jail time or even upto a year in probation.
Irrespective of that, adultery is generally not prosecuted but it can still be tactfully used to give you an advantage in legal proceedings as proven adultery in divorce cases can have serious repercussions on spousal support, distribution of assets and most importantly, public image. Adultery crime in New York is more widespread than we think.
Is Adultery Grounds for Divorce in New York State?
It was a prevalent legal practice to compulsorily have a valid reason for divorce that needed to be approved by a judge. This reason which is presented to a judge is defined as the grounds for divorce. This made legal termination of marriage a bitter process.
Lately. Every state in the U.S. has legalized no-fault separations which have significantly reduced conflict levels between the divorcing parties. If someone opts for a no-fault divorce like the name suggests they chose to not blame the separation on either party and can even say that the marriage just broke down due to irreconcilable differences.
Irrespective of this provision of no-fault divorces, one can still opt for a fault divorce where they contest the blame for the split on one’s spouse. Especially if there is adultery during separation, the faithful spouse is expected to feel betrayed and opt for adultery as grounds for separation while filing for a divorce and it is allowed to do so. It is crucial to note that one cannot use adultery as grounds for divorce if:
- If one has encouraged the affair in any way, meaning if one has consented to an open marriage.
- If one has committed adultery yourself.
- If one stays with the unfaithful spouse for five years or more after discovering the affair.
To sum up, Is adultery grounds for divorce in New York state? Yes, it is a valid grounds for separation, keeping the exceptions in mind but if both parties want to not bring up the adulterous acts to reduce the emotional distress which is bound to be caused to them as well as their child or children if involved, they can opt for a no-fault divorce.
How to Prove Adultery in New York?
Adultery needs to be proven in court in order for the judge to involve it and its effects in the divorce proceedings. Proving adultery is not simple. If you chose to hold your unfaithful spouse accountable for their adulterous acts, have a conversation about the same with your attorney, discussing the evidence in hand and making sure that it is the right way to go.
The word of mouth of the faithful spouse is not enough to prove adultery in court. So, how to prove adultery in New york? Additional evidence which includes but is not limited to photographs, videos, eyewitnesses, etc. which clearly indicate that one spouse has engaged in sex with another person who isn’t their legal spouse is required.
It should be noted that evidence should be pointing towards the act of sexual intercourse and nothing less. When there is a presence of adultery during separation, getting such evidence first hand is quite difficult and for the very same reason, many people turn to private investigators. It is important to note that this may come with a significant financial burden.
But going forward with it, i.e. using adultery as the grounds for a divorce and investing in proving it in court can be a very well-calculated move as well. If your infidel spouse has a high profile, has a presence in the public eye or has a moral clause in their job agreement, having a divorce can bring them a lot of trouble as it causes a lot of public relations problems in addition to financial loss as well.
Payments for damage control, lifelong negative impacts on career, negative and damaging image in society discourages people to work or get involved with them are just the tip of the iceberg for adulterous spouses. The societal pressure in addition to the legal procedures is a big cross to bear for anyone.
Adultery and Property Division:
How does adultery affect divorce in NY in terms of the division of shared property? The martial or shared property of a couple needs to be divided between the divorcing parties during separation. There are two ways that marital property distribution happens in the states which are community distribution and equitable distribution.
Community distribution divides the shared property in two equal halves or in the 50-50 way while equitable distribution divides the property fairly after understanding the financial situation and needs of both parties and it does not need to be divided into two equal parts.
In regard to adultery in New York, according to (N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 236 (B)(5)(c).), the shared marital property is divided according to equitable distribution, meaning that there is a fair distribution of assets and debts. Despite this, the court does account for egregious behaviour by either party.
Egregious behaviour can be defined as marital misconduct when it comes to divorces. Adultery in New York alone is not seen as egregious under the law and thus does not affect property division in any way.
The only exception to this rule is if the cheating spouse utilizes the shared marital assets and property to shower his or her paramour with gifts or to enable his or her affair in the form of hotel bookings, trips, etc. The court does recognize this behaviour and charges the unfaithful spouse for the same.
The said amount used by the cheating spouse on his partner is accounted for and reduced from his or her share of the distributed assets. In correspondence to the level of the unfaithfulness of the spouse, this reduced amount can have a huge financial impact.
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Does Adultery Affect Child Custody?
Child custody battles are emotionally draining and cut-throat. Child custody battles are fought to obtain legal guardianship of a child of divorce by both parents. Child custody decisions are made only on the grounds of the best interests of the child. These best interests are highly subjective which lead to long battles in court.
In maximum cases, adultery does not affect the decision of child custody battles. There are exceptions to this as well. While discussing adultery in New York, the next burning question is does adultery affect child custody? If the child has been or will be directly affected by the affair, it is considered in the battle. The cheating spouse may lose his or her child due to their adulterous behaviour if:
- The affair has caused the unfaithful spouse to lose interest in his or her child’s life and he or she is absent in the child’s life and has missed important milestones during the time of the affair.
- The affair was conducted in front of or discovered by the child which can deeply disturb or upset the child.
- The partner who has contributed to adultery with the cheating spouse has misbehaved with the child or caused them to harm in any way.
- The partner in question has a torrid past which can include but is not limited to history with substance abuse, criminal record, sexual harassment records, etc.
If the judge feels that the situation is not appropriate for the apt development of a child, he or she may let adultery act as a deciding factor for the child custody battle in question. So, does adultery affect divorce in NY in terms of child custody? It might.
Divorce and Alimony:
Generally, adultery does not affect the arrangement for alimony or spousal support. Alimony can be described as a legally decided sum of amount that is paid by generally the financially better off spouse to the other so that he or she can make their ends meet. Does adultery affect divorce in NY in terms of alimony?
Adultery can not be the sole reason for the allotment of alimony in any case. That being said, if the grounds for divorce is adultery itself, then it may affect the spousal maintenance judgment. If the affair has led to the utilization of shared marital assets to enable itself, it is considered and accounted for in alimony arrangements.
It is important to note while discussing adultery in New York that there is no fixed formula for the calculation of alimony, both sides need to present their case backed up by proper evidence and the judge after thorough evaluation makes a judgment.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Some frequently asked questions about adultery in New York have been answered below:
1. Is Adultery Grounds for Divorce in New York State?
Yes, adultery can be used as grounds for divorce in New york.
2. Does Adultery Affect Child Custody?
Adultery does not affect child custody decisions unless and until the affair or the third person has the potential to hamper the development of the child.
3. Do You Have to Pay Alimony If Spouse Cheats?
Alimony decisions are generally never affected by adultery. The only exception to it is if the cheating spouse has utilized shared property for enabling the affair or buying gifts for her or her paramour.
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Ending the Article:
Adultery in New York is more common than we believe, and if you find yourself stuck in such a situation, keeping your calm and having a well researched and thought out approach helps you get all that you deserve from the settlement.